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Course Details
Price $119.00

Object Relations Theory (8 CE Credits)

Object relations theory reflects a psychoanalytic perspective that emphasizes the significance of the interpersonal experience on the development of mind and character.


Course Objectives

As a result of this learning activity, the participant will be able to:

  • describe the fundamental distinctions between classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory and contemporary object relations perspectives,
  • describe Melanie Klein’s views on the nature of drives, the ego and its defenses, and developmental positions,
  • describe W. R. D. Fairbairn’s views on the nature of drives, developmental process, psychic structure, and psychopathology,
  • describe D. W. Winnicott’s views on personhood, aloneness, true and false self, transitional phenomena, and maturation as they contribute to developmental psychopathology,
  • identify the distinguishing features of Harry Guntrip’s contributions toward understanding object relations,
  • identify the distinguishing features of Michael Balint’s contributions toward understanding object relations,
  • apply object relations theories toward an understanding of developmental psychopathology, and
  • compare and contrast the various object relations theories in terms of their implications for clinical practice.


Course Content and Details

Product Description

Object Relations Theory Course

Object Relations Theory Course-Infant's and parent's handsThis object relations theory course presents the foundations of object relations theory.  The theory reflects a perspective of psychoanalysis that emphasizes the significance of the interpersonal experience on the development of mind and character.  This perspective examines the critical significance of human relationships for normal development, the processes whereby the mind is formed from those relationships, the intricacy of specialized ego functions, and the evolution of the person as a unique and adaptive being.  Object relations theory serves to move psychoanalysis beyond economic, structural, and genetic considerations, and toward an appreciation for systemic interactions between persons, and the symbolizing of those interactions within the person.  

This introductory course begins with the work of Melanie Klein and contrasts her views with those of Sigmund Freud.  Then, it discusses the views of  W. R. D. Fairbairn, Michael Balint, D. W. Winnicott, and Harry Guntrip, and their conceptualizations of intrapsychic development.    



Michael J. Gerson, PhD, PsychoanalystThe Instructor is Dr. Michael J. Gerson, an experienced Psychologist and Psychoanalyst in California.  He has been training clinicians for over 30 years, both in his private practice, in community counseling centers, and as a professor of Psychology in graduate programs.  He is a core faculty member of the Graduate School of Psychology at California Lutheran University and is renowned for his depth of understanding of the therapeutic process and for his keen ability to translate complex concepts into terms that are clear and that can be applied to the clinician’s own work.  


Program Information


Conflicts of Interest or Commercial Support

There is no commercial support or other potential conflicts of interest for this program, presentation, or instructor.


Commitment to Diversity and Accessibility

We are committed to respecting diversity in all of its forms, including age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, language, socioeconomic status, religion, and disability. We also strive to make all of our activities accessible to individuals with special needs or disabilities. Please contact the Director at if you ever have any questions or concerns regarding any of our programs.


Sources and Relevance

Our programs and teaching methods are supported by current, empirically-based scientific literature, and are designed to provide continuing education that is relevant to psychological practice, education, and/or research, so that psychologists may maintain and expand their ability to serve the public and contribute to the profession.


Target Audience

Our courses are designed for postdoctoral-level psychologists; this course is an introductory-level course. All mental health professionals, educators, and researchers have a variety of educational backgrounds and needs—if you have any questions about whether this course could benefit you and/or would be appropriate for your level of training, please do not hesitate to contact us. You may contact the Director directly at with any questions or concerns.


Course Schedule

This course will be available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you will be able pace yourself in a manner that is comfortable for you.


Cost and Refund/Cancellation Policy

The cost of the course is noted below; there are no additional fees. Your satisfaction is important to us. If you are not satisfied with a course, please let us know immediately—we will cancel your order and gladly offer you a full refund. 


Course Format Summary

The course includes an online written manuscript and accompanying audio file, for optional review in multiple modalities.  An online multiple choice test and Certificate of Completion follow completion of the course for 8 CE credits.  Introductory level.  A brief video provides opening remarks by Dr. Gerson.  This course may be applied to the Certificate of Advanced Study in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired.  $119.

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